The 2016/2017 season was one of the worst in Sunderland AFC’s history.
Much lauded by Ellis Short, David Moyes had been hired as manager following Sam Allardyce’s departure, and he duly backed us to be relegated after just the second game of the season.
Whilst acknowledging that the squad at his disposal was certainly not up to the standard required, the negativity that Moyes brought to the Stadium of Light ensured that the clouds were gathering as early as mid August.
With a blend of mercenaries, veterans and ultimately very poor footballers, we were relegated in April with a handful of games left to play.
After the final match of the season, during which the Sunderland team inexplicably offered John Terry a guard of honour during his final appearance for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, Moyes departed a position that was akin to being the organiser of the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Now attempting to plan for the Championship, we were falling rapidly and the men in charge - Martin Bain and Short - were looking for ways to revive a club that had lost its identity and soul.
On this day six years ago, reports were emerging that the club was working hard behind the scenes to secure both a new manager and ownership group.
With Short’s investment seemingly being reduced, we were scouring the football world for someone brave (or stupid) enough take over the sinking ship. In addition, we needed a manager who we could trust to win promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Leading the way was former Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson, who we were heavily linked with during the early weeks of pre-season. Also in the frame were Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes and Preston North End’s Simon Grayson - the latter of whom we were going to learn far more about.
The ownership of the club was something that needed to be sorted at the earliest possible opportunity. The club were struggling financially without Short’s investment to the squad. Rumours of a German consortium taking over were increasing around this time also.
Progress has been made with a German consortium interested in buying the club from the American, and it is understood they are willing to go near to his initial £90m asking price which will rise if promotion to the Premier League is sealed within the next few seasons.
The German bid is believed to be still regarded as the front runner after further discussions since last week. There is also a serious chance a multi-national consortium led by a group of Sunderland fans can strike the deal first.
Further interest is there from two other parties, although those are only likely to seriously come into play if either of the German or the Sunderland fan-led group fail to reach an agreement.
However, as we all know, Short held on a year longer before eventually selling to Stuart Donald and Charlie Methven. That was still to come, but in the meantime, Grayson was appointed as the new manager of the club.
After such a wretched final season in the Premier League, things could hardly have been any worse for the club and the fans- could they?